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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I am having red eyes and there is no doctor available.

Customer Question

I am having red eyes and there is no doctor available.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 5 years ago.

Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
Doctor DanB : Are you having any of the following: eye pain, tearing, discharge, burning, stinging, itching, foreign-body sensation, light-sensitivity or blurred vision? Is this one eye or both? How long?

it was one eye for two days. I used eye drops and washed the eye regularly. Today, it is both eyes. I am experiencing some eye pain, itching and stinging.

Doctor DanB : Have you had a cold or stomach flu, or have you been around anyone with either of those or a red eye?

I have not had either of those. I may have come into contact with students with a cold but I do not recall anyone with a red eye. It happened the evening after I conducted a briefing for some parents. That was just one eye.

Doctor DanB : Are you experiencing any sneezing, runny or stuffed nose, coughing, or sore throat?

I am experiencing slight stuffed nose and some coughing which I get quite often.

Doctor DanB : I think you are experiencing an infection that many people call 'pink eye.' Pink eye is what many people commonly called 'viral conjunctivitis'.  Pink eye is caused by a virus and often follows your exposure to either a virus that causes a common cold, a viral gastroenteritis (vomiting and/or diarrhea) or to someone with a red eye or one of those viruses.  It usually starts out as mostly a ‘pinkening’ of the white part of the eye.  It can also cause any of thr following symptoms: pain, pressure, redness, burning, itching, foreign-body sensation, watering, light sensitivity in one or both eyes.  Shortly therafter, it usually goes into the other eye.  Many times, the only thing that bothers the person is that the eye is red.  Unfortunately, there isn't any treatment that makes the virus go away and/or die. Many primary care doctors will mistakenly give out antibiotic drops for this and tell the patient that they will not be infectious after taking this drop for 24 hours. This is just simply not true. Antibiotics only work against bacteria and therefore have no treating power against viruses.Since there is no medicine to make a viral conjunctivitis resolve, you are unfortunately left to wait it out until the virus leaves the system. This can take up to 1-2 weeks for the eyes to look and feel normal again. I tell my patients that once their eyes look and feel normal again, then they are good to resume prior activities. If this is a pink-eye, then infection control is the most important issue after symptom control; these secretions are incredibly contagious and so alcohol-based hand-gel is good to carry around with you and use liberally. Also, don't share towels with anyone and try to avoid being around elderly persons, persons with compromised immune systems or infants. As far as symptom treatment, cool compresses, artificial tears (without redness relievers in them) and OTC pain relief (ibuprofen or tylenol) are the best to control symptoms while you wait out the virus to run its course, which can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks. Its difficult to be a hermit for that long, so when the eyes look and feel normal, it is reasonable to behave normally as far as infection precautions go.  If things are not getting better after 1 week, or if it does start to get very painful or light sensitive to where you couldn't function, or if it just stays in one eye and the discharge and redness become significantly worse, then I would recommend going to the doctor as you may need prescription medicine to treat it.
Doctor DanB : Does that make sense?

It makes sense but I have very important meetings to attend. Is it ok to wear dark glasses so people don't keep staring. Will it reduce the chances of spreading to others?

Doctor DanB : I think the dark glasses thing should be fine. Unfortunately the only thing that will help keep it from spreading is to use hand sanitizer fastidiously and try not to touch your face and eyes.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any other questions about this?

Okay.. will do that. Thank you very much for your response. I do not have any more questions.

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